SPRINGFIELD – The governor, this week, signed a piece of wildlife legislation aimed to assist Illinois DNR and its conservation police officers in keeping hunters from possessing illegal wildlife.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet), will not only allow Illinois conservation officers to prosecute hunters who are in possession of illegal wildlife, but will also allow Illinois to maintain control of cases where wildlife has been taken from other states.
Illinois Conservation Police officers frequently assist other state conservation agencies in investigations of illegal hunting across state lines. These investigations can be time- consuming and costly to the department.
Until now, the investigations were done with no departmental ability to recover costs from the interstate investigations. The new law gives DNR a means to recoup some of these costs by imposing fines on hunters who are found to have possessed or transported wildlife illegally.
“I appreciate the support of the Governor and the members of both chambers in addressing this situation,” Sen. McGuire said. “Illinois now will have a way to recover the costs it incurs when rogue hunters disobey the law in Illinois and other states.”
The new law is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.